At the beginning of this semester, I had never blogged in my life and I did not have a recent Twitter account. I honestly rolled my eyes when we were told to start a blog and encouraged to join twitter. I cringed at the thought of a blog because I’m self-conscious about my writing. I don’t even let my boyfriend read my writing and I was supposed to post it openly on the internet for the whole world to see. No thank you! However, throughout the semester, I have started to change my views on twitter and blogging.
Blogging has been a tough task for me. I have started to feel a bit more comfortable using it as the semester has passed but I still find it difficult to post my writing for the world to see. Something that I really enjoyed about blogging was following other blogs and seeing what other people had to say about the things we were learning. This allowed me to open my eyes to the different perspectives that people had on the same topic.
Reading other people’s blogs also helped me to gather my own thoughts as I would read something and immediately know that that’s how I viewed a topic but just couldn’t put it into words or a clear thought. An example of this would be for one of the first blog postings we had to make regarding Kumishiro’s common sense. I had read the chapter and felt unsure about what I had read and didn’t want to screw up my first blog post. Before I had made the post, I checked out other people’s blogs in my seminar section and saw that my thoughts were roughly on the same track as everyone else, so I wasn’t out to lunch like I thought I was.
I felt great when I made one of my first posts that was not prompted by ECS210. I had watched a video in my ECE325 class and thought it was quite powerful, so I decided to post it on my blog. Sarah Ross commented on it and thanked me for sharing it as she was in a different ECE325 class and didn’t watch the video. This was my first “ah-ha” moment with blogging. I realized that something that I liked and posted could also be beneficial and new to someone else.
Twitter has taken a bit longer for me to get comfortable with. I used to have a twitter account a few years ago but found it quite useless so I deleted it. I wasn’t going to sign up for an account this year but mid-semester I decided to give it a shot.
I started twitter out by just following fellow students in ECS210. After following a few people and them following me back, I started to get a few people I did not know following me. The thing is, they all had something to do with education. This went to show me how easy it is to start building a PLN on twitter and how willing people are to follow you and give advice when asked. I noticed this by looking up different hashtags. Some examples that I was looking at were #ecs210 and #edchat. I would also just click on hashtags that other people had in their tweets.
I currently don’t have very many tweets because I have mainly just been using twitter to look at #ecs210 or retweet the odd tweet from someone else. Ashley Arndt sent out a tweet about going to Malawi, Africa this summer and wanted people to check out her blog post on it. I took that opportunity to retweet it in hopes that my followers would see it and check it out. Not only was this building my PLN, but it was also helping Ashley build hers. That is something that I have come to realize about twitter. By retweeting and mentioning people in your tweets, it allows people to look at who you are following or connecting with. This is how I have followed some people because I saw someone else retweet or mention them.
Building my personal learning network has been somewhat of a slow process. Because of my uneasiness of posting on my own blog, I found it difficult to comment on other peoples’ blogs and start conversations. I also had very little comments on my own blog so I didn’t have much to build on. This put a little dent into developing my PLN. However, I have the ability to start following other blogs and gaining new followers from that. This is one way that I plan to expand my PLN. I also plan to start using twitter more and to start tweeting my own things. I also hope to gain new followers to expand my PLN and so I can reach out to them for help.
Using technology is a great way to develop a personal learning network and seek advice/tips from others. I look forward to expanding my PLN with technology as well as my own knowledge about what can be done with technology!